At the heart of a nearly vacant Las Vegas Strip, Caesar’s iconic palace stands empty.
It’s been the worst experience of Tony Rodio’s 40-year casino career. Now, the CEO of Caesars Entertainment is undertaking the Herculean task of safely reopening the 85-acre resort in the era of Covid-19, he told CNN.
“People want to get back to normal again. It’s just going to be a process getting there,” Rodio said.
The initiative at Caesars Palace is among at least four reopening plans unveiled so far by Las Vegas resort operators itching to serve tourists again while getting employees back to work, even as trade unions demand more transparency and the adoption of their own safety guidelines. Plans by MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts and The Venetian include potentially modifying HVAC systems, suspending buffet service and setting protocols for what to do if a coronavirus test comes back positive.
At Caesars Palace, card tables, dice games and even slot machines are being retooled across the casino floor with social distancing and disinfection in mind, Rodio explained.
“We will be deactivating every other slot machine and removing the stool from the game,” he said, standing at an darkened slot machine at the center of three-machine row. “A customer can’t even stand here and play this game because the game’s not even active, and so we will do that throughout the whole floor.”
At card tables, the number of seats will be reduced from six to three, he said. And say goodbye to the classic casino scene of a crowd cheering a winning streak.
The dice on craps tables will be cleaned after each roll, and the chips will be frequently sanitized, too. For larger surfaces such as slot machines and elevator banks, employees will be equipped with electronic sprayers.
For now, the steps being take a Caesars Palace are among the first in an odyssey towards a new casino culture, one its leaders believe will retain the spirit of Las Vegas.
“I can’t tell you when we’re going to get back to 100% normal, but I’m confident that we’ll get there,” Rodio said. “I think that it will be in 2021 at some point.”
Wanna bet it’s before then !